Tag Archives: white privilege

Poverty. Totally a choice.

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Poverty. Totally a choice.

Bootstraps. Pull yourself up by them!

Unless you are barefoot and pregnant….and that was YOUR decision. Fu*king breeders!

Just kidding. I get tired of feeling like I have to explain my clients or enlighten people on oppression and poverty and every other ism that exists in my world (your world too, just FYI). I digress.

When I started out down the social work path, I was very vigilant and ready to educate the masses; I was excited to understand the criminal justice population I had previously been working with in another light. I wanted to fix the world, change society.

Now I just want to help individuals. I am sure that is why nothing changes and if it does it is a very slow painful process….because all our passion gets sucked out and replaced by not apathy but sheer exhaustion. Or we feel liuke we did something by liking something on Facebook or blogging about it or signing a dumb ass petition on change dot org….

You can’t fix ______________ so you just try to negate the damage.

It’s sad, but it is what it is.

I read this today and thought it was a nice look into the lives of the people some of you are blaming and bitching about.

http://killermartinis.kinja.com/why-i-make-terrible-decisions-or-poverty-thoughts-1450123558

And just for fun, here is my favorite explanation of white privilege for you white boys who don’t believe in it.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

I hope Daniel reads this.

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Dear Universe:

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Dear Universe:

Jani

123 Main St.

Somewhere, WA 12345

September 18, 2013

RE: Hoops

Dear Universe:

It has come to my attention that while I have jumped through all of your stupid damn hoops from birth through today, apparently I am still missing something… I understand adversity develops character; yet it also breeds contempt. I’ve done all the things I am “supposed” to do (married baby daddy, divorced baby daddy when he done me wrong, went to school, went back to school, got a stupid masters degree, I don’t beat my children, I’m kind and generous, stay conscientious of being positive and helping others, and so on and so on) and I still find I am constantly freaking struggling. Could you maybe back the f**k off for a second?

Now don’t get me wrong, while I am incredibly grateful for the things I have going RIGHT in my world, ie: my love, my kids, my health, my friends, my first world problems, etc.; I do not find it incredibly selfish of me to simply want enough money to make it less hard. I do not like worrying about whether I can pay for my child’s instrument rental or their school supplies or whether I will be able to wash my clothes without having to go to a laundry mat in the event that my W/D break because my landlord is raising my rent yet not continuing to provide maintenance on the appliances. I do not want to worry about if I am going to get child support to pay my car payment so I can go to said laundry mat or my invisible job or my child’s cross country meets.

Can’t I just have a break? One whole annual quarter where EVERYTHING goes RIGHT? Some breathing room would be nice.

Or maybe just a heads up or a clue to what it is I am supposed to be learning that I apparently keep missing?

K thanks.

Respectfully,

Grateful, yet over it.

White Privilege, it really does exist!

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White Privilege, it really does exist!

I recently had an interesting discussion with someone on their lack of belief in white privilege. It resulted in my leaving quite frustrated. I also tried to speak to my husband about it, but I end up so ver klempft that I can’t even banter appropriately or effectively. I have been trying to figure out a better and more clear way to explain it. The girl in the video explains it as immunity….rather than privilege…Maybe that makes it more palatable. I also have read an article that makes it understandable for the video generation….Click here.

One good thought I have had is: *if your perceived oppressive experience ends when you change environments, there wasn’t an *ism.*

You can be uncomfortable and a situational minority without being oppressed. 

Google “Galtung conflict triangle” interesting stuff. 2/3 isn’t an ism. You gots to have all 3.

http://civilliberty.about.com/od/equalrights/tp/Types-of-Oppression.htm

Yes. I am a white girl. Why does that mean I can’t speak freely?

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Yes. I am a white girl. Why does that mean I can’t speak freely?

Ok, so while I am aware of the constantly evolving me that is a student of social work, I also have a few things about myself that I hold to be convictions, which will really never change. One of them, I feel I need to defend so freaking often these days. Consider the following real life practically verbatim vignette:

A guy and a gal are smoking outside school. Me and another gal, talking to them. Conversation ensues regarding graduation blah blah. Me and smoking gal begin talking about the opportunities in Alaska which can result in getting most of your student loan debt forgiven. I ask, “Are you Native at all?” because she looks like she could be  (obviously my first mistake, assuming she looks potentially Native and asking, gasp).

She says “No, why?” 

Me: “Well, they give Native preference up there. I remember it being really frustrating when I lived up there that often I didn’t get a job because I was “too white.”

We laughed. I started to explain and then….

The other girl, non-smoker starts in about “Yeah, how hard it must be as  a white girl,” (mind you she is white too) and “how white people have it so bad”, while rolling her eyes and going on about privilege. Then she gives some example about some dumb chick that said something similar, which really wasn’t even remotely similar to what I was saying. I didn’t get to finish talking. I was humiliated and pissed. 

Now, had she given me half a second, I would have further validated that statement with how it was 15 years ago, when I was 18 and naive. I then would have explained how I BELIEVE AND ALWAYS WILL that as long as we continue to make distinctions between people, we are perpetuating hate and separateness,  nothing will ever be equal. It creates infighting. And as long as we are fighting each other, we will never make any headway with the powers that be that REALLY need us to work against them. Yes, I know that reparations must be made for previous and present oppressions and that I currently experience privilege because I am white, really I KNOW THIS. I’m on a fucking computer bitching about how I let someone make me feel while I was at GRADUATE school. I mean come on. I get it. My first world problems are really lame in the big picture. But they are mine. I am experiencing them.

But I also know that as long as we give anyone an advantage over another person based upon their race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, sex, religion or culture, rather than their qualifications that there will always be anger, strife and hate. I remember very clearly my ex-husband going OFF about not getting a promotion at his job, when we lived in Barrow, Alaska. A Native had been promoted ahead of him. Not once did he even entertain the idea that the Native had been better qualified, had more seniority, or had been waiting for the promotion. He assumed it was a Native preference situation and hated the Natives after that. Now, this was most undoubtedly a multifaceted issue, because he was slightly racist to begin with, had been privy to white privilege his entire life, etc. But the fact of the matter was, he began to hate a specific person based upon an assumption created by a man-made difference created in trying to help end differences.

But she didn’t let me say that. She didn’t even let me explain. She immediately made an assumption based on the beginning of my statement, jumped in and changed the entire tone of the conversation, made me feel like crap and embarrassed. Her DHS skills are coming in handy. I can see it already.

Boo.

Now I am doing what I want to stop: I’m talking about it! GOD*(&*^%*^%!

Woosaw.

I have three things I would like to share:

The first is a partial transcript of a 60 Minutes interview of Morgan Freeman by Mike Wallace:

Wallace: Black History Month you find…

Freeman: Ridiculous.

Wallace: Why?

Freeman: You’re going to relegate my history to a month?

Wallace: Oh, come on…

Freeman: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month?

Wallace: Well…

Freeman: Come on, tell me.

Wallace: I’m Jewish.

Freeman: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month?

Wallace: There isn’t one.

Freeman: Oh. Oh. Why not? Do you want one?

Wallace: No. No.

Freeman: Alright. I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.

Wallace: How are we going to get rid of racism…?

Freeman: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman.

The second is classic MLK:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

And finally:

2 from Malcolm X:

“I am not a racist…. In the past I permitted myself to be used…to make sweeping indictments of all white people, the entire white race and these generalizations have caused injuries to some whites who perhaps did not deserve to be hurt. Because of the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to receive as a result of my recent pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to sweeping indictments of any one race. I am now striving to live the life of a true…Muslim. I must repeat that I am not a racist nor do I subscribe to the tenants of racism. I can state in all sincerity that I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”

“Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society.”

I said good day!

Poverty, Homelessness and privilege:

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Poverty, Homelessness and privilege:

Have been the topics du jour in my classes this week. My poverty class is putting together a small Peoples Movement Assembly on poverty next month at Portland State, so I have been thinking a lot about poverty.

Homelessness is one of the many frustrating facets of it which are immediately apparent, particularly for me here in Portland. They make fun of the “gutterpunks” and the  panhandlers on “Portlandia,” but rarely do you see the REAL inequities and injustices without being here. I watch people a lot on the trains and at the stops and just downtown in general; most people avert their eyes as if not looking at the homeless will make them go away. Shameful.

I read a pretty resonant blog today that I would like to share with you:

http://adventuresofcassandra.tumblr.com/post/21338683124/homeless-happy

I encourage you all to remember that poverty is a human issue, not a poor issue. It is systemic. It is RAMPANT in the United States, despite what we may want the world to believe.

Don’t turn away. If you have nothing to give, you are dead. Sometimes just a smile can change someone’s world. Energy is cyclic.

Thanks, Cassie.

xoxo

Jani